Travel. Skydive. Repeat.

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík October 22nd 2016

Welcome to Iceland; country #57 for me. Super excited to be here, and holy crap is it windy! I checked the weather before I left and it forecasted rain, rain, rain and a bit more of rain. Oh, did I mention the gale force winds :-)? Yup - for once the weather forecast was very correct! It's not temperature cold - highs of +5 to +9 Celsius, so when it stops raining and blowing winds you actually get quite hot very fast, but when the nasty kicks in it is, well, nasty! I arrived bleary eyed and super groggy after a red-eye flight (yes red-eyed is the perfect name for them). G Adventures had set up arrival transfers for us with Grey Line and as soon as I left the arrivals section they were right in ... read more

Africa » Rwanda » Ville de Kigali March 22nd 2016

Today was our last day for some of us, as the trip officially ended tomorrow, but I had to leave early so Alison could go on her vacation, and a couple others were in the same boat. Our breakfast at 7, left the hotel by 8 and our drive to Kigali from Musanze was just over 2 hours and we got to the Genocide Museum in a decent amount of time. A very sobering experience and I was looking forward to going while at the same time dreading the after effects of it. I’ve been to a few memorials now, and they are never a positive experience but we as a society can hopefully learn and grow from it and one day somehow, find a way to end all the hatred that is out there. We ... read more
Genocide Museum
Wall of Names
Genocide Museum

Africa » Rwanda » Province du Nord March 21st 2016

The day had finally arrived; I was going to see ‘my’ gorillas in Volcano’s National Park in Rwanda. I have been coveting this travel experience for over 15 years and it was hard not to bounce around like Tigger from Winnie-The-Pooh, so I focused very much on trying to be calm (yoga breathing helped) but not sure I really pulled off the 'zen'! We got to the entrance to Volcano's National Park, saw some traditional Rwandan performers and dancers welcoming us and then met our guide Ignacio who gave us the briefing. Trackers had left before dawn to find the individual family locations and once our group got to them, we would get to spend an hour with them. We were to be very quiet, and to stay 7 metres away from them and not do ... read more
Wicked action shot of one of the dancers
The second start of the trek; before the machete came out
Our first silverback

Africa » Rwanda » Province du Nord March 20th 2016

Today was another long drive but we were on our way to Rwanda! I quickly began singing “We’re off to see the gorillas, the wonderful gorillas of Rwanda” to the Wizard of Oz music, while the extra syllables made it a bit difficult I couldn’t stop. To say I was excited and vibrating with enthusiasm is an understatement; 15 years I'd been waiting for this experience and it was still 24 hours away but I was on a travel/wildlife HIGH! The boarder crossing was relatively painless; we had to physically walk across while Paul and Sam took care of vehicle registrations separately. We stood in line for a while and got asked the same questions by the guard, who after the 4th white Canadian girl finally clued in we were all together (despite our best efforts ... read more
Scaffolding (?)
Fruit markets
Moving market

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Queen Elizabeth NP March 19th 2016

Woke up at 5:20 to get ready for our morning game drive, and could hear the hippos grunting and groaning all night. Andrea and Rhonda next door were actually woken up to a hippo eating grass right outside their tent, they were scared and excited and awe struck all at the same time. My animal experience that morning was a beetle big enough to be considered a low flying aircraft by the bathroom; welcome to the African jungle! Morning game drive was absolutely spectuacular, well worth the 5:30 wake up. Watching the sunrise (I got an awesome photo of it), and seeing the warthogs, 2 different kinds of antelope, water buffalo, a variety of birds, prey and non, and lions and elephants – well what can I say. I’ve been lucky to have done a safari ... read more
Kitty snack

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Queen Elizabeth NP March 18th 2016

I took “Paul’s Van” with the girls this day as we had split up 4 and 4 with the 2 vehicles, but I hadn’t had much chance to spend time with my skydiving friends; “Team NO Sleep” and no sleep it was. We laughed, we giggled, we gossiped, caught up on mutual friends and life in general, was a great way to pass the time while driving to QE Park. Rhonda had captured some great photos of life from the van of which I’m including a few in this blog. On route we stopped at the 'official' equator line - got a couple of great group shots. I ran north yelled "Northern Hemisphere" and then I ran south and yelled "Southern Hemisphere" and back and for and back and forth (keeping in mind we had been ... read more
Nice scaffolding?
Fruit Market
Street peddlar/mobile market

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Fort Portal March 17th 2016

Today is Chimpanzee Walk day. Now to be honest when I booked this trip; it was ALL about (in order) the Gorillas, going to Jinja and seeing Queen Elizabeth Park. Little did I realize that the Chimp visit (which I thought would be “nice’) turned out to be one of the highlights, and the trip has barely begun. We had an early start of 6am from Fort Portal and were at the Kibali National Park grounds by 8ish.On route we saw some baboons, a couple with babies too. We were split into 2 groups and off we went with each guide, in search of the chimpanzees. We were told that human DNA is 95% identical to a chimp and 96% to a gorilla. Not quoting exact science here, but after seeing them, I can completely see ... read more
Chimp walk
The thinker

Africa » Uganda » Western Region » Kibale National Forest March 16th 2016

Today was mostly a travel day as we went from Jinja to Kibali National Park, via Kampala. We had our mini breaks, lunch stop, more mini breaks and took lots of photos from inside the vehicle and just absorbed up the culture and day to day life of the Ugandan People. Long travel days can be, well long, but at the same time if you make the most of it you do learn a lot. Our guides Sam and Paul (we had 2 vehicles so rotated) were always happy to answer our questions about salaries ($100-$350/month USD), vehicles (motorcycles for $10,000USD or a nice used 7 pax van for $20,000USD), food is very cheap and chicken, fish, potatoes, plantains are common and beef and rice are a treat. Gas is running $1USD/litre so fairly high relatively ... read more

Africa » Uganda » Eastern Region » Jinja March 15th 2016

Woke up lazily; as I wasn’t sleeping that deeply unfortunately, and got up had a quick rinse and went for breakfast. The coffee was decent, breakfast yummy and Sahara and I sat there (all the other girls had gone white water rafting already) and were just ‘in the moment’, where so many of us long to be. Looked at our watches to see that it was already 9:05 (we were to meet the kayakers at 9) and went “Meh, African time” and finished our coffee overlooking the scenery of the Nile river before sauntering over to the starting point. We met Abraham our guide, Sahara was going Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) and I was kayaking as each of us loved those 2 sports, and we could work together speed wise. Got down to the dock, ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam March 14th 2016

Marco was kind enough to drive me to the airport; no traffic on an early Sunday morning so it was a breeze. Cleared through, met up with Heather and Diane and met Jodaye at the gate. Our flight was almost an hour late as the plane needed a part (I’m SO OK with staying on the ground until things are fixed J…) so overall a very long day. I had an aisle seat and the lady sitting next to Diane was willing to switch with me (aisle for an aisle) so I got to sit next to her, watching movies while she slept. We had an almost 9 hour leg to Kigali, 1.5 hour change over there and then another hour all told to Entebbe. Very odd landing a plane on a runway with almost no ... read more

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